A study was undertaken to evaluate the thermosonic gold‐wire bonding capability to Ti‐Pd‐Cu‐Ni‐Au thin film metallisation on newly developed polymer hybrid integrated circuits (POLYHICs). (The POLYHIC technology incorporates alternating layers of polymer and metal added to conventional Hybrid Integrated Circuits which provide for increased interconnection density.) Destructive wire‐pull strengths were measured as a function of varying wire‐bonding machine operating parameters of wedge bond force, wedge bond time, temperature, and ultrasonic energy. All data were evaluated and compared with wire bonding under similar conditions to thin film circuits on Al2O3 ceramic. The results for wedge‐bond associated failures indicated that machine operating parameters of wedge bond force, time and ultrasonic energy similarly affected the average wire‐pull strength for both the ceramic and POLYHIC circuits. Pull strengths for equivalent metallisation schemes and bonding parameters were generally slightly higher and more tightly distributed for bonds made to metal films on ceramic. A strong correlation was found to exist between wire‐pull strengths and surface topography (as measured by a profilometer technique) of the thin film metallisation for the POLYHICs which had both smooth and rough metallisation surfaces for metal films on top of the polymer. The results indicated that rough metallisation bonded more easily and yielded much higher wire‐pull strengths. Also, rougher films were shown to effectively increase the parameter‐operating windows for producing reliable wire bonds. A semi‐quantitative analysis was developed to help explain this correlation. Surface topography effects were also found to be a key factor when evaluating wire bondability as a function of substrate bonding temperature. Wedge‐bond strength was essentially independent of temperature for bonds made to rougher metallisation while a strong temperature dependency was found when wire bonds were made to smoother films.
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